Doug Reinemann, UW-Extension Milking Equipment/Electrical Specialist
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Doug Reinemann explains how texting technology helps dairy farmers collect information on individual cows.
2:56 – Total Time
0:17 – A likely text about milk production
0:31 – Levels of text alerts
1:10 – Choosing what is texted
1:26 – More individual cow care
1:44 – Monitoring cow activity
2:23 – How much a cow chews and more automation
2:46 – Lead out
Sevie Kenyon: Dairy Farmers getting texts from their dairy herd. We’re visiting today with Doug Reinemann, Department of Biological Systems Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
Doug, what kinds of things are cows texting to their owners?
Doug Reinemann: We can collect of course, the most basic thing is milk yield, so we know how much milk the cow is giving at each milking. With that of course you can determine if today’s yield is down by a certain percentage, you might want to have look at that cow, and that’s a text message you might receive. You know cow number 3765 Elsie is down, you know half what we expect and you might want to have a look at her today.
Sevie Kenyon: What kind of information is texted to a cell phone?
Doug Reinemann: Well there’s several levels of alert. So there is more important things like, for example, if the machine breaks down, it’s not working that’s a very high level of alert. And the computer will call you up on your phone and say “oh by the way we have a problem with unit number 2 it doesn’t seem to be operating come out and have a look at it or send someone to have a look at it.”
Sevie Kenyon: What other kinds of information are dairy farmers collecting in their dairy herds?
Doug Reinemann: Dairymen have the option of selecting what sorts of information he’d like to get from the dairy herd and how often and when he’d like to get that information.
Sevie Kenyon: What are some of the advantages of this kind of technology on the dairy farm?
Doug Reinemann: This kind of information allows a dairy manager to get back to more individual cow managements, as opposed to the general trend in the industry toward group management. This is a move back toward more individual cow management.
Sevie Kenyon: What other information can be collected on a dairy cow on a dairy herd?
Doug Reinemann: So there’s a whole variety of sensors that tell us about different aspects of cow activity and the one we’ve been using the longest would be a simple pedometer, to tell us how many steps the cow is taking. And activity monitoring is used for a number of things, primarily reproduction, but also it can be used for lameness detection. And more sophisticated systems can actually locate the cow in the barn, so we know is the cow in the feed bunk is she lying. And then even a more sophisticated technology would detect rumination, rumination activity of the cow.
Sevie Kenyon: Why would a dairy farmer need to know how much a cow is chewing?
Doug Reinemann: Cows are ruminants and rumination is what drives milk production so a decrease in rumination activity is an indication that there is something wrong. So this progression is really just a continuation of more automation in the dairy industry. What that means, I think is, economic efficiency, better animal welfare and better quality of life.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Doug Reinemann Department of Biological Systems Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Science and I’m Sevie Kenyon.